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City's social host ordinance could soon include drugs

Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 21:09:18-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego is on the verge of expanding a law that punishes adults for letting minors party on their watch.

On Wednesday, the city's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee supported expanding San Diego's social host ordinance to include marijuana and other drugs. The ordinance, passed in 2003, currently only covers alcohol.

The ordinance fines adults for hosting a party or creating an environment that allows underage drinking.

First time offenses come with a minimum $100 fine. That doubles for a second offense, and future violations could mean six months in jail.

"It's my responsibility to make sure that, as a good host, that everyone's having a good time but that everyone's having a good time in a healthy manner," said Lisa Bridges, a director at SAY San Diego, which supports the change.

A city report says the 2016 passage of Prop 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, has made the drug more available to adults and lowered perception on risk. The report says that is why the change for the social host ordinance is needed. It added increased usage of Fentanyl and Spice are adding to the risk.

“The addition of marijuana and controlled substances to the Social Host Ordinance gives law enforcement an additional tool that will deter conduct that puts children at risk," City Attorney Mara Elliott said in a statement.

"My office and the San Diego Police Department will work together to educate the public about this ordinance and its intent, and we will hold those who choose to ignore it accountable through arrest and prosecution.”

The full City Council will consider the change at a later date.